Sleep Alone

by Foxsong


Post-col vignette; MSR (is there anything else in my universe???); songfic. Rated G. No spoilers.

Feedback to 

Archive at will; just leave this link to my site in the headers:

This fic bears the Official Seal of Beta Approval™ of MaybeAmanda and Char Chaffin. 

"The X-Files" TM and copyright Fox and its related entities. All rights reserved. Neither this work of fiction nor its writer is authorized by Fox. The song "Sleep Alone," from the CD 18, written and copyrighted by Moby. Visit  


Summary:  'At least we were together holding hands
                  Flying through the sky' -- Moby, "Sleep Alone"


- - - - - - - -


The balcony faced west, overlooking Manhattan from thirty-two stories. Mulder started to drag the chaise lounge toward the railing, and just as quickly stopped, flinching at the screech of its metal feet scraping against the concrete floor. He grabbed the back of the thing and lifted it up a little, gracelessly clunked it back down a foot or two closer to the edge of the balcony, and sat down on it.

He glanced over his shoulder toward the French doors into the living room, afraid that the noise would have disturbed Scully as she lay on the sofa there, but she didn't come out. Maybe it hadn't been that loud after all, he thought. But then, any sound seemed louder these days than it used to. 

He lifted the glass of gin and tonic to his lips and took a sip. He watched as the late-afternoon breeze stirred the treetops in Central Park below. The leaves were that dark, dull, end-of-summer green that almost looked overbaked. Soon the trees would be touched with color -- probably already were, he reflected, up north where he and Scully were heading.

This place had been quite a find, but they'd been here almost a week. It was really time they got going again. He'd been thinking it, and he knew she'd been thinking it too, though she hadn't said so quite yet. He'd seen it last night as they'd sat here together on the balcony; there had been more shadows in her eyes than just those of the falling evening.

He turned and leaned back onto the chaise, lifting his feet onto it, crossing his legs at the ankles. He sipped at his drink again. Looking like this, just out at the skyline, the sun drawing a little lower behind the buildings now -- it was almost the way it should be. He could almost imagine it. He could almost believe.

He heard the soft click of the doorlatch opening behind him, and turned his head to see Scully padding out barefoot onto the balcony. He held out his hand, but instead of taking it she just came over and sat down on the edge of the chaise beside him.

She looked inquiringly at the glass in his other hand, and he held it up to her. She leaned over and sniffed at it and wrinkled her nose in distaste at the scent.

"Bombay gin, Scully. Some of the finest stuff made." He took another sip. "Might be the last bottle we ever see."

"We could take it with us." She looked away over the balcony for a moment, then turned toward him again. "Now that we have the truck, there's room to bring some luxury items too."

He smiled a little. "I'd noticed the case of bubble bath that appeared in there yesterday."

They sat in silence. Mulder held his glass up to a shaft of the dying sunlight, studying it.

"You know what I miss?" he asked at length, and then answered his own question. "Ice. I miss ice."

She dropped her gaze. "Mulder, don't start," she murmured.

"I was just thinking," he went on, as if she hadn't said anything, "that, you know, before there was electricity they used to build ice houses and save ice for the summer in them. I bet we could do that too."

Scully sighed. He glanced over to see her studying the skyline determinedly.

"There's an uphill slope behind the house, right at the edge of the woods. We could bank the ice house right into the side of the hill. Better insulation that way. We'll be all settled in before the first hard freeze -- we'll still be able to dig."

"In all our spare time, after we've scrounged up enough supplies for the whole winter and cut enough firewood to keep from freezing," she said flatly.

"Well," he started, and realized he didn't have anything to say to that. "Well. I mean, we'll see."

She nodded, still staring away over the edge of the balcony. He reached out and laid his hand over hers. She shifted and turned back toward him. The sun had sunk almost all the way behind the buildings now; one last ray of its light caught her hair and lent her a moment's red-gold halo. He blinked, and she moved, and it was gone.

"I'm sorry, Scully," he sighed.

She shook her head. "We did the best we could."

"It wasn't enough." He lifted the drink to his lips, and realized he didn't want any more. He set the glass down on the floor beside the chaise lounge.

She reached out and slipped one hand around the back of his neck and let it rest there. He thought she was about to stand up, but instead she picked her feet up onto the chaise as if to lie beside him. He moved over as far as he could to make room for her, and she settled in against him, tucking herself under his arm, sliding her own arms around his waist. 

He wrapped his arms around her. He bent his head and kissed her hair. He'd been waiting for years, for so many empty nights, for this -- just for this. He'd never really considered that the end of the world might end up coming at the same time.

"You're still tired," he said. "Why did you get up? I thought you'd sleep a while longer."

"I had a funny dream," she said softly.

He stroked her shoulder. "Laughing funny, or weird funny?" he asked.

"Maybe both," she sighed. "I dreamed we were flying."

"Flying," he repeated. "In a plane?" He felt her shake her head against him. "No plane. Just us, flying through the sky?"

"Just us. Holding hands." He waited, but she didn't elaborate.

"You know, Scully," he said teasingly, "I'm sure I remember reading that dreaming of flying symbolizes unfulfilled sexual desires. If you need me to pick up a little more of the slack in that area, you can just ask. I'd be happy to oblige." He let his hand slip down from her shoulder to her side, and curled his fingers against the ticklish place he'd found only the other night.

He was rewarded with her wriggle. "Mulder, stop," she chided him, but he could hear the smile in her voice, and he knew she wasn't really annoyed. "Do you want to hear my dream or not?"

He placed another kiss on her hair. "Tell me your dream," he said.

She sighed and nuzzled his chest. "Anyway, like I said. We were flying." Her voice was hardly more than a whisper. Only a year ago in this place, he thought, he would have had to incline his head just to hear her.

"We were flying over the city. Over this city. And there were... it was full of people. Walking and driving cars and riding bikes, and jogging, and just... just living. And they had no idea."  

She paused. His fingers absently smoothed the soft cotton of her shirt where he'd wrinkled it tickling her.

"No idea," she said again. "They had no idea how beautiful they were, just living." She shifted restlessly in his arms. "And then I woke up, and there was still nothing, and it was still desolate..."

He held her tighter. He closed his eyes.

"Mulder, what I'd give just to hear a bird sing..."

"Scully, don't start," he whispered, echoing back what she'd said to him. She nodded against his shoulder and was silent.

He felt the evening air cooling against his skin. In another world there were crickets chirping, the faraway bark of a dog, and sometimes a few half-heard words of conversation, or laughter -- voices carried so far on the night wind. In another world, if he opened his eyes right now, he'd see lights coming on in the windows of the apartments, see the shifting blue ghostlight of TV sets... 

Scully was soft and warm nestled against his side.

"At least we were together," she murmured.

"What?" he asked.

"In my dream." Her arm tightened around his waist. "At least we were together."

He had to wait a moment, unsure whether his voice would break, before he could answer. "Always together, Scully," he finally said, stroking her hair. "Always."

He opened his eyes and saw that the sun was gone, and that the stars had begun to come out.


- - - - - - - -

'Sleep Alone'

As the sun was setting 
Little pieces of light touch your hair
Perfect love comes softly if at all
If at all

A city once full of people is desolate
We look back into the rooms where we bled

At least we were together holding hands
Flying through the sky 
At least we were together holding hands
Flying through the sky
The sky

I touch your hand
You touch the back of my neck
So many empty nights just waiting for this
For this

Standing or heading downstream
On the city island we hear nothing

At least we were together holding hands
Flying through the sky 
At least we were together holding hands
Flying through the sky
The sky

At least we were together holding hands
Flying through the sky 
At least we were together holding hands
Flying through the sky
The sky